Recruiting foreign nurses won't help

  1. 0
    Opinion column :

    Most news coverage of the immigration bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate focused on the border security, guest worker and amnesty issues. Virtually unnoticed in the bill was a provision that would make it easier for foreign nurses to immigrate and work in the American health-care system.

    The purpose of this provision is to help reduce the nursing shortage facing our country by making it easier to recruit nurses from abroad.

    Unfortunately, this policy represents a Band-Aid approach to the serious nursing shortage and distracts policymakers from addressing the fundamental problems behind the shortage.

    Recruiting nurses from less affluent nations that are grappling with their own shortage of nurses does great damage to Third World health-care systems that struggle to provide even basic care for their citizens.

    Nurses represent the largest occupational group in health care, and because of the extensive time they spend with patients, they are at the heart of the care-delivery system.

    In recent years, our health-care system has faced a significant shortage of nurses. As of April, U.S. hospitals had 118,000 openings for RNs. The number of vacant positions is expected to grow to 275,000 by 2010, and to more than 800,000 by 2020.


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  2. 26 Comments...

  3. 0
    This is what I've been saying for years.
    I've stated such opinions on this board many times.

    Instead of bringing attention to the pitfalls of foreign recruitment, expressing these views often results in the person being labled as racist and anti-immigrant.
    This has happened several times to me here on allnurses.

    Hopefully, nurses who read the above article will truly see the point, and not immediately have the knee-jerk reaction of crying "racism."
  4. 0
    from the article-

    "....despite these numbers, we really do not have a shortage of qualified nurses. what we have is an insufficient number of nurses willing to work under the very difficult working conditions they face in our hospitals."

    "....eventually, the daily stress of working under these conditions caused nurses to begin leaving the field. and their leaving set off a chain reaction by increasing the shortage, which in turn, put additional pressure on the nurses who remain, causing even more to leave."

    "...trying to address this problem by bringing nurses from abroad, or even by educating more nurses here, without addressing the root causes of the shortage, will have the same effect as sticking a finger into a leaky dike. it may help in the very short term, but in the long run, disaster awaits."

    this makes me want to weep. someone finally gets it.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Aug 16, '06
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    Then why don't they expand the schools. The answer is that for whatever reason, the US government wants to infuse immigrants into the country. Look at the contrived 'shortages' over the last 10 years. IT industry, doctors, engineers. In unskilled labor mostly from Mexico and the relatives of the H1B visa holders, they've put Americans out of work in factories and the construction industry. Now the trucking business is in Mexico training Mexican citizens and trying to get them up here on visas. WHY---I couldn't tell you. But they've known about this 'shortage' for years and the schools actually are getting tighter here to include slots they save for foreign students. Hello Nurse, as for racism----there is no one race involved, how could it be racism? I sure the ones crying that are from a homogenous society and are using the 'r' word to get you (and me) to shut up. Name me one country that allows foreigners to take away the jobs of its citizens as the US does.
  6. 0
    Quote from Nitngale
    Name me one country that allows foreigners to take away the jobs of its citizens as the US does.
    The UK does.

    I'm sure that you can find similar statistics for Canada, Australia, Germany etc if you really wanted to find out.
  7. 0
    Quote from StNeotser
    The UK does.

    I'm sure that you can find similar statistics for Canada, Australia, Germany etc if you really wanted to find out.
    According to another article posted on this board, the UK no longer is. The restrictions going into effect are designed to protect their citizens from losing jobs to foreigners.

    How it will turn out, I don't know, but I've held the same opinion as 'Helllo Nurse' for some time now. I see foreign nurses coming to the US in DROVES, and I don't see the problems that created the "shortage" of nurses being addressed at all. All I see is "ship in some more foreign nurses, they'll work because the conditions here are better than where they came from!".

    It's insulting to both the US nurse and the foreign nurse, whether they realize it or not. Because "they" are willing to work under harsh conditions doesn't mean that's how you fix it--gosh, how about fixing the harsh conditions so more US NURSES will stay in (or go back into) nursing?

    Seems to me we have way more than enough prospective students interested in becoming nurses in THIS country, provided we have enough classroom and clinical space for them. What about arranging for THAT, instead of work visas?

    This is not an issue about wishing to prevent legal immigration. This has everything to do with preserving an acceptable standard for work conditions in this country. Something the unions of yesteryear fought SO hard for, to make sure we have decent working conditions, compensation, etc....and I see it being threatened by the constant influx of foreign nurses. How has this helped make a hospital nurse's job better? From what I can tell, it hasn't. And won't.
  8. 0
    YES....I totally AGREE!!!!

    the US has to LIMIT the number of foreign nurses coming in from other countries.....well, limit should not even be the word....BANNING foreign nurses should be the right word

    majority here argue that there are sufficient US nurses but are not willing to go into nursing because of harsh working condition, low staffing ratios and LOW pay.....ok ok ok, i totally agree with you guys: US congress should enact a law mandating a 3:1 patient to nurse ratio and a mandatory increase of hourly salary of AT LEAST $50 per hour on day shifts.....

    do you geniuses know that more than half of all private hospitals in California are running huge cash deficits now? and that medicare and Social Security would go bunkrupt in the next decade? and do you know who is gonna foot the bill for increased healthcare cost??? its gonna be YOU, YOU, YOU and the US taxpayers
  9. 0
    That was a good article. We've discussed this issue before, so I won't go too much more into it. But I did find the RN ratio's per 100,000 people around the world to be interesting, especially in the Philippines.
  10. 0
    From Am. J. Nursing, August 2006:

    Not Just a Question of Numbers: Policy experts say removing limits on foreign-trained nurses is not the answer to the shortage.
    Nelson, Roxanne BSN, RN
    Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

    The controversial immigration bill (S 2611) that recently passed the U.S. Senate has attracted a great deal of attention, only a fraction of which has centered on a provision that would exempt foreign workers in shortage occupations—including nursing—from caps on employment-based visas until 2017. The proposal, by Sam Brownback (R-KS), has prompted criticism from both nursing organizations and international health experts.
    In a letter to Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rose Gonzalez, director of government affairs at the ANA, pointed out that “experience shows that the influx of foreign-trained nurses only serves to further delay debate and action on the serious workplace issues that continue to drive American nurses away from the profession.”
    The letter also warned that opening up immigration will intensify the drain of health care workers from developing nations, such as the Philippines, that are already contending with severe shortages. The World Health Organization recently reported that a shortage of more than 4 million health care workers in 57 developing countries is already interfering with efforts to combat diseases such as AIDS and malaria.
    “We feel that this is a lose–lose situation,” says Katie Krauss, a spokesperson for Physicians for Human Rights. “This isn't going to solve the American nursing shortage, it's not going to help problems in health care, and it's going to intensify nursing shortages in other countries.”
    Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN
  11. 0
    You have a point there but all the same i don't think that will be the solution. Nurses abroad are also needed cause i don't think that they will work abroad for the rest of their lives. They will by all means wish to go back home.

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